Mining in Chile

Photo by Douglas Fernandes: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thejourney1972/2210538825/Chile has some of the worst mining practices in the world. While the world rejoiced in the rescue of the Chilean miners in 2010, the accident shone a spotlight on the horrible problems and lack of safety standards in Chile. The accident at the San Jose mine is considered the second worst tragedy in modern mining history since 1945.

The company, Sernageomin, claims it doesn’t have the resources to adequately supervise all the mines it operates in the country. Yet for years, they have been allowed to operate in this manner, resulting in thousands of injuries every year and no protection for their workers and the families their workers support.

While the country has promised to improve its safety standards in their mines, Chile has yet to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 176 on mining safety. 25 counties, including some in Africa, have adopted the convention and it establishes the rights of workers to refuse to work in unsafe conditions.